Find out where the hellish noise of train meeting rail is worst – thanks to science!
Let’s be honest, peace and quite don’t exist on the London Underground, between the endless rush of commuters and the ear-splitting screech of the rails. Still, the problem of noise on the tube has always come second to a myriad of issues (no air conditioning, overcrowding, etc), until the arrival of this tube noise map. Shall we dive in and see the damage?
(In other depressing tube map news, check out this one about house prices.)
Put together by hearing-concerned organisation EAVE, the tube noise map is rather damning, with a good 40% of the map reaching decibel levels for which hearing protection is recommended or mandatory. The worst offenders are the deep tube lines, with the Northern, Victoria, and Jubilee scoring particularly badly. (Check out the full map here.)
See also: the Tube map in 2040 is going to be WILD.
The noisiest stretch of tube? That’s out east, with the Canary Wharf to North Greenwich route clocking in at a skull-splitting 96 decibels – that’s roughly the same as standing next to a motorcycle at top volume. Other high-scoring spots include the Camden Town to Kentish Town route, at 95 decibels, and the least favourite part of my commute: Euston to Camden Town, at a madness-inducing 94dB. All work and high noise levels make Alex a dull boy.
Easily the worst line overall is the Victoria line, with stretches clocking in at 93dB, 90dB, 88dB, and 87dB – all pretty bad for your ears. On the other hand, if you’re looking to give your hearing a well-earned break, take the District line, as the green line gets the green light from EAVE for a (mostly) stress free ride. Having said that, it’s the Piccadilly which has the quietest stretch overall – the 68dB section between North Ealing and Park Royal practically being a lullaby in comparison to some other spots.
Of course, short of taking high-level hearing protection equipment on the tube, there’s not much to be done about the problem in the short-term – naturally, trying to drown out the track noise with music just makes things worse. Perhaps those fancy new trains coming to the Piccadilly line might mitigate the problem, but in the meantime, maybe invest in some earmuffs?
Also published on Medium.